As we know, it wasn't all sunshine and smiles for the Penguins organization lately, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins lost in Game 7 to the very formidable Hershey Bears. Of course, small potatoes compared to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Baby Pens season is over.
Always interesting is when a team is eliminated from the playoffs and their list of injuries is disseminated. Courtesy of Johnathan Bombulie of the Citizen Voice newspaper, here's what the Baby Pens players were dealing with....Seeing this list might make you think they got in a bus accident or something..
Adam Berkhoel -- had to have his knee drained six times during the Hershey series; scheduled for surgery tomorrow
John Curry -- injured knee in Game 5 vs. Bridgeport; tried to take painkillers to get through Hershey series but couldn't go
Tim Wallace -- broken collarbone
Janne Pesonen -- broken bone in his hand
Andy Wozniewski -- broken foot
Joey Mormina -- high-ankle sprain; didn't miss a game
Aaron Boogaard -- probably needs shoulder surgery
Dustin Jeffrey, Connor James, Bill Thomas -- knee injuries
Joey Haddad -- had knee surgery
Paul Bissonnette -- had wrist surgery
Eric Tangradi -- had hand surgery
Yikes. Seeing that list it's no wonder Wilkes-Barre ran out of gas and got shutout in their last two games. And it makes moments like Janne Pesonen's 4 point game or Joey Mormina continuing to play first pairing defense and you just have to shake your head at the toughness and resiliency that they show.
Bombulie also said he expected about three players to be called up to Pittsburgh as a taxi squad of practice players. Bombulie named forward Jeff Taffe as one likey candidate. That one is a slam dunk, as Taffe lead WB/S in playoff points and has 153 career NHL games. I would suspect that if Bill Thomas' knee injury isn't that severe he might get the call to Pittsburgh too, as he seemed to excel at faceoffs and was a decent 4th liner. Chris Minard played 20 games in Pittsburgh, so he seemingly would be a candidate to join the Pens for the remainder of the season too, I would think.
With Alex Goligoski already in Pittsburgh, the Pens eight healthy defensemen (if Sergei Gonchar is good to go). So maybe they'll get Ben Lovejoy up to Pittsburgh, just in case.
So even though the Pens are eliminated for the third time in four years by Hershey, it's been another successful season down on the farm. For the seventh consecutive year Wilkes-Barre won at least one playoff series. Over the past four regular seasons the Baby Pens have won 198 games (average of 49.5 a year). It's a successful, well run organization no matter which coaches, management or players revolve, the constant is winning and developing players.
This year no one fully graduated, but with Pittsburgh spate of injuries Wilkes-Barre was tested. Goligoski, Minard, Jeffrey, Lovejoy, Curry, Wallace, Bissonnette, Pesonen and Caputi were all called up to play various roles for the NHL. As soon as next year some of them (Goligoski, Lovejoy Curry, Caputi) might be challenging for NHL jobs full-time. Good work and good job boys.